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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/429

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Bk. I. Ch. I.
397
INTRODUCTORY.

The same is equally true of the Romanesque. There is in Italy and in the south of France a style which is only modified Roman, without any extraneous influence—and to which the term more properly applies, and to use it to designate the early attempts of the antagonistic nations is to mistake, not only the meaning of the term, but the whole meaning of the ethnography of art. There is, for instance, less classical feeling in the naves of Peterborough or Ely Cathedrals, than in those of Canterbury or York; and our Norman buildings, in all essential respects, are far less like those of Rome than the Decorated Pointed buildings which superseded them. If the change of a simple detail or the substitution of a pointed for a round arch is sufficient to necessitate a change of name, the new style should have been called Saracenesque, [1], or have had some such name conferred upon it.

The term Gothic, as applied to all the styles invented and used by the Western Barbarians who overthrew the Roman Empire and settled within its limits, is a true and expressive term both ethnographically and architecturally. It is true it was originally invented and applied as a term of reproach, but that meaning has long since passed away and been forgotten, so that it has become unobjectionable in that respect; and, unless the several styles be grasped as a whole, and comprehended under one denomination—whatever that may be—they can never be classified or be properly understood.

The first great subdivision of this that occurs, is between the early and later Gothic styles—which may generally be characterized as the Round and Pointed Arched Gothic styles. In France, however, a pointed style preceded the round-arched, so that this characteristic must not be too rigidly insisted upon. Beyond this general classification, the use of local names, when available, will always be found most convenient. First, the country, or architectural province, in which an example is found should be ascertained, so that its locality may be marked, and if possible with the addition of a dynastic or regal name to point out its epoch. When the outline is sufficiently marked, it may be convenient, as the French do, to speak of the style of the 13th century as applied to their own country. The terms they use always seem to be better than 1st, or 2d, Middle Pointed, or even "Geometric," "Decorated," or "Perpendicular," or such general names as neither tell the country nor the age, nor even accurately describe the style, though when they have become general it may seem pedantic to refuse to use them. The system of using local, combined, and dynastic names has been followed in describing all the styles hitherto enumerated in this volume, and will be followed

  1. If Romanesque is to be applied to our Norman architecture, the Parthenon ought to be called Egyptianesque, and the Temple at Ephesus Assyrianesque.